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Supergirl - Dark Side of the Moon - Reviews: Mothers and Daughters

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Since its return from a nine-week hiatus, Supergirl has aired a series of solid episodes. The most recent episode, "Dark Side of the Moon" (3x20) is no exception. While not perfect, this episode joins the others since the return in building a solid foundation for what will likely be the strongest of the CW/DC superhero show finales. The strength of this episode lays in what has been the core of the show, its characterizations. Foremost is that of Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl. In this episode more than any other, she finds she can truly be herself, Kara Zor-El. Traveling to the figurative "Dark Side of the Moon" in search of the weapon they believe can defeat Reign, she is shaken to her core to discover not only a city from Krypton had survived its destruction, but along with it her mother, Alura (Erica Durance). During Season One, all she wanted from the hologram of her mother was to ask for a hug. Her emotional reaction to first hearing, then seeing her mother, alive was one of the highlights of the episode as she finally gets the hug she’s been longing for. The show attempts to pay homage to the domed city of Argo and its inhabitants, iconic figures in DC lore. While for the most part, they succeed, the episode could have focused more time on the city and the reunion of Kara Zor-El and her mother.

As stated we could have seen more of Kara and her mother's reunion, however, Benoist and Durance make the most of the scenes they do share. The show doesn't forget its history when Alura asks about Kara's life on earth, even asking about the prisoners (more specifically her own sister, Astra) when Kara tells her Fort Rozz crashed on Earth. One has to wonder how Alura is going to feel when she learns that Alex, the sister that Kara so proudly talks about, is the one who ended Astra’s life. And again, the show relies on Kara's heart to win this week's battle. Her passionate speech convincing the council of Argo to spare some of the black rock on which the city depends in order to save Earth was one of Kara/Supergirl's most powerful of the series. The deeper impact of her words about the people who defend Earth is illustrated with some very nice editing. Hearing her words over the scenes of Alex chasing her would-be assassin and Lena's focus in the lab, serve to reinforce their importance.

Another of the episodes great characterizations came from one of the show's newest cast members, Odette Annable as Sam/Reign. This was one of the best casting decisions the producers made for Season Three. Since arriving, Annable has made Sam Arias a beloved character and Reign one of the show's most outstanding villains. While fans love Sam, it is Annable's work as the villain Reign that is a standout in this episode. As she grows stronger while in confinement, her immunity to Lena's (Katie McGrath) kryptonite continues to embolden her. In this episode Reign is feisty and sassy, delighting in tormenting and rattling the seemingly unshakable Miss Luthor. One has to wonder just how much fun Annable has had playing scenes like this because being bad is sometimes so good.

Yet another character that has grown this season has been Christopher Wood's Mon-El. His moments in this episode with the young mother and her ill son, show a compassionate Mon-El, significantly changed from the royal playboy he was when he first arrived on the show. Wood played the scene where he gives the young boy, named Val (perhaps foreshadowing the character of Valor) perfectly, with humility and grace.

Alex’s (Chyler Leigh) storyline this episode added to her great growth arc this season. The assassination attempts on her life weren't necessarily crucial to the story, other than to lay the ground-work for her introspection of her life now that she is responsible for Ruby (Emma Tremblay). The show again does a great job of using its history by listing a rogue's gallery of Alex's arrests from previous episodes as suspects including Sheriff Collins from one of the shows' strongest episodes this season, "Midvale" (3x6). Alex's conversation with J'onn (David Harewood) about balancing the dangers of the job and being responsible for a child is likely one that first responders or people with high-risk jobs have had with loved ones in their lifetimes. Leigh and Harewood share such a great chemistry together that any scene with them, especially quiet ones like this one, prove to be eminently powerful.

The episode does provide a nice twist with having Selena (Anjali Jay), he evil priestess guiding Reign, not only turn out to be a member of the Argo council but also having her cast the deciding vote to give Supergirl what she needs to defeat Reign. What is she up to? Has she done something to the rock so that it makes Reign stronger? Does she have an ulterior motive? Of course, she does! While speaking of the Argo council, Star Trek and Supergirl fandoms happily collided when the Supergirl casting department cast former Star Trek: Voyager actor Tim Russ (Tuvok) as one of the council members.

For all the things this episode got right, there were still things that did not quite work in this episode. One, as mentioned, it would have been so interesting to see more between Alura and Kara, and about life on Argo in general. Two, the DEO does need to do something about its security measures, if Alex is to bring Ruby there and maintain her cover with the child as an FBI agent, then don't send said child to the conference room to read where the DEO screensaver is rotating big and boldly on the screen behind her. And three, did Winn (Jeremy Jordan) build in some secret super-powers into Alex's new suit? Because that move she made up the side of the building to take out her attacker seemed almost superhuman and close to defying the laws of physics. We're all for the suit protecting and enhancing our favorite bad-ass DEO agent but giving her superpowers might be a bit much. Alex's greatest strength has and always will be not needing superpowers or a cape to be a superhero. Finally, Winn being a jerk to Ruby was very out of character for him, however they do redeem him by having him empathize and bond with Ruby over having a murderous parent.

What were your thoughts about Supergirl Episode 3x20, "Dark Side of the Moon"? Discuss in the comments below.

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